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Real Food Halloween Tips

Real Food Halloween Tips

Halloween is just a few days away and we will be inundated with candy once more. A little candy once a year is probably pretty harmless, but more and more I am realizing that candy in today’s culture is not just a one-time isolated event. Candy is being dressed up into sugary drinks, granola bars, and cereals. It’s used as rewards for good behavior, perfect attendance, and even for doing a great job at the doctor’s office! It tricks us into treating all year long.

Sometimes it feels like no matter how hard we try, junk just follows us everywhere we go! So here are a few ground rules to set so that you can still have fun during the holiday, but also keep focused on making it a real food Halloween instead.

  1. Set limits on candy.
    While I’d love to just throw all of it in the trash, I know that’s not reality. We often talk about letting life happen some of the time and that pertains to holidays as well. While we don’t let our kids go crazy with candy, we do allow them to have a few pieces on Halloween night and also let them keep 10 of their favorite pieces  for later. We put it away in a cabinet to pull from on occasion to put in their lunch or for an after dinner treat. Honestly, those 10 pieces last us almost the entire year until Halloween comes again!
  2. Focus on the dressing up.
    Try to make Halloween more about the fun of picking and creating their costume. That involves creativity and imagination!
  3. Create candy alternatives.
    I often try and steer my kids into more real food treats whenever I can. When they ask for candy, I tell them that I will make chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip blondies (made with chickpeas!), or mint chip “nice” cream. That way they are not deprived of getting a treat, but we do it without all the added junk.
  4. Be proactive.
    Knowing the possible inundation of sugar at a party or trick or treating, make sure there is good food in your kid’s belly before and after. Pull your kids aside and tell them they can have one piece of candy with her friends. Everything else has to come home and gone through later.
  5. Be a role model.
    Parents are important role models in their children’s food choices. We can determine what types and how much food they are exposed to all year long, why should Halloween be any different?

What to Do with the Candy You Get

Doing an internet search, you will find some ideas for leftover Halloween candy including donating to your local Ronald McDonald House, nursing homes, food pantries, children’s hospitals, veterans’ homes, or women’s shelters. I am personally not a huge fan of donating candy to other people. As a real food advocate for everyone, if it’s not good enough to keep around my house then I don’t want other people eating it either! Especially low income families challenged with access to real food, or kids or adults that are battling potentially life threatening diseases that are fueled by sugar like cancer! Oy Vey!

Try these alternatives instead:

  1. Trade it in for money.
    Determine an amount of money you will pay for each piece of candy. Let your kids take the money they earn and add it to their savings, spending, sharing jars.
  2. Find a local dentist that participates in the Halloween Buyback Program.
    Again, I hate that they are sending the candy overseas as our troops deserve to eat healthy too. So, maybe you can find a local dentist that will take the candy and donate money to a local charity or give out toothbrushes to the underprivileged instead.
  3. Leave it out for the Switch Witch to take. 
    On Halloween night at bedtime, kids leave a heap of their trick-or-treat sweets with their Switch Witch pal… and in the morning they will see their candy has been switched for a special switch gift!
  4. Allow them to trade in their candy for the “gift of an experience.”
    We started asking for family members to do this for Christmas last year. We’d much rather experience something together than have more “stuff!” So why not trade in candy for a night out at the movies (bring your own homemade popcorn), or some jumpy time at a bounce place…or a new favorite of ours is going roller skating!
  5. Get Crafty!
    The wrappers can be used for decoupage or other crafts and the candy itself can be re-purposed for your gingerbread house at Christmas. You can even make glossy paint out of Skittles!!!
  6. Use it for math games.
    M&M’s can be used for addition and subtraction or, you can sort your candy (chocolate, gum, lollipops, fruit snacks, etc.) and figure out what percentage each group contributed to your total amount.
  7. Donate your candy to science.
    Have a science fair coming up? There are lots of great candy experiments you can do at home.

How will you be handling Halloween this year?

Until next time, keep it real.

Our recommendations:

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Have a Healthy Easter without the Junk

Happy Easter without the JunkI have one very fond memory of Easter when I was little. My brother and I were looking for hidden eggs around the house and could not, for the life of us, find the last one. My mom put a bounty on the egg and told us she would give 3 pennies to the person who finally found it. That was like striking gold for a little kid. We continued to hunt and hunt until said egg was finally found. You know who found it? That’s right…me.

That Easter apparently made such an impact on me, because later during an original song writing session (which my brother and I often did for our amusement), I wrote an epic song about it. To this day, my brother can STILL sing it word for word. Maybe I missed my calling as a song writer.

I mention that story because Easter is a mere 11 days away. Typically this means more candy, more toys, more junk. Welcome to America. The land of commercialism. But Easter doesn’t necessarily have to equate with candy. I mean, I got so excited about 3 measly pennies, wrote a song about it and still remember those Easter events 3 decades later.

In past years, I really have limited how much candy has gone into my kids Easter baskets. This year, I am eliminating it all together! Heck, we still have Halloween candy left! Fortunately, there are other items to fill your kiddos baskets with, not centered around junk foods. (Edited: I caved and bought them each Theo’s Peanut Butter Cups. They had me at hello.)

Check out my list of fun alternatives!

Non-Food Egg Stuffers

“Better” Candy Choices – Although these are not all “perfect” choices, they are better than conventional candy full of food dyes, GMOs and fillers. If you are going to give candy this year, go for these brands instead.

Basket Stuffers

Finally, If you are looking for Easter egg dying alternatives check out these enviro-friendly alternatives.

Happy Easter and until next time, keep it real.

Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase an item through our link you will not incur any additional costs but Keepin’ it Real earns a small commission. We only recommend products we have used, would use or trust. Your support is greatly appreciated so we may continue to spread the news about real food.